On 16 March 1569, Ivan sent a decree to the elected elder (starosta) Istoma Mishakov, sworn-men, and associates (tovarishchi), concerning quit rent (obrok
) from Simonov Monastery villages taken into the oprichnina.
It was, rather, a socioeconomic and political structure where the nobleman as landowner provided unfree peasants with a piece of land and some legal protection in return for free labor (barshchina), free money (obrok
It is also no coincidence that landlords with peasants close to major transport routes chose payment in the form of obrok (owing an annual sum) over barshchina (owing labour service) from their serfs.
Profits, when passed along to landowners through a tax known as obrok, encouraged owners to allow even greater freedom of movement.
The relative weight of these factors depended largely on whether the serf estate was organized on the basis of quitrent (obrok), or labor services (barshchina).
Indeed, the seignior and his manager (if he employed one) often had to concede considerable autonomy to obrok peasants, allowing them to leave the estate for long periods in order to earn money.
The spouses taken together held between 240 and 350 serf male "souls." Most of these serfs owed quitrent (obrok
) rather than the more onerous direct labor services, and "thus the estate comprised a continuum of authority, with the male patriarch at the top of a many-layered hierarchy" (47).
(63) This amount was the equivalent of soul tax and quit-rent (obrok
) payments by 48,024 state peasants or from the soul tax payments of 75,467 privately owned serfs.
Moscow chancelleries granted rights to operate mills and fisheries for limited terms in exchange for obrok rent.
1; Case of an Anonymous Letter Regarding Levies on Residents Taken by Clerks Who Were Collecting obrok Rent in Sevsk, 1706, RGADA f.
(7) The transition within the concept of property rights that accompanied the emancipation of state peasants in 1866 was described as an upgrade from the right of "use" (pal'zovanie) to one of "possession" (vladenie) with corresponding right of "disposal" (rasporiazhenie) and the obligation to pay state quitrent (obrok
He instead envisioned gradual reforms, beginning with giving the serfs more responsibility by assigning them a share of the revenues, expanding the use of obrok
(quitrent) at the expense of barshchina (corvee) and, most of all, educating the landowners better about new management techniques.